THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Churchill coach Mariano Dias: Semen Padang are a strong side

Churchill Brothers' Mariano Dias and Roberto 'Beto' Mendes Silva

Churchill Brothers SC will face Indonesian side Semen Padang FC in their second 2013 AFC Cup Group E match on Tuesday and both coaches and two players met the media at the pre-match press conference on Monday.

The Goan side lost their first match against Kitchee and they are keen to clinch their first points when they take on the visitors at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.

“I haven’t seen them play,” Churchill coach Mariano Dias said. “However we have read newspaper reports and know that they are a strong side and they are top of the Indonesian league.”

“Yes, the travelling is very hectic, it does take its toll on our players,” Dias continued. “However that is part of football and we must deal with it in a positive way and go out there and try to win the match tomorrow.”

“The AFC Cup provides our players with the opportunity to improve their game by playing against good foreign sides.”

“It is my dream and a huge challenge to win the AFC Cup for an Indian side,” Brazilian star Roberto ‘Beto’ Mendes Silva told. “Although we lost the first match, I’m confident that our team will play a better game tomorrow and hopeful of three points.”

When asked about his partnership with India skipper Sunil Chhetri, Beto said: “This is not the first time we have played together. We played together at Mohun Bagan and we also played together at Dempo. I’m sure we will combine well and help our team get all three points.”

Semen coach Jafri Sastrak is expecting nothing less than a win from his team. “We have travelled a long way and we are hopeful that we will take home all three points.”

“We will be missing all four foreigners tomorrow – one because of an injury and three due to visa problems. However we are confident that our local players will give their all and help us win.”

“We have watched some match footage on YouTube and we had a look at Sunil Chhetri and Beto has the main threats,” Sastrak told.

“The stay in India has been brilliant so far, we would like to thank Churchill Brothers for their hospitality,” the coach added.

Semen’s captain Elie Aiboy is aiming high and he hopes to pull a few surprises in the AFC Cup. “We want to create history by being the first Indonesian side to make it to the semifinals of the AFC Cup.”

“We hope for a good show tomorrow,” he concluded.